Since they days of Jimmy Powers defaming Lou Gehrig and the 1940 Yankees by blaming a "Polio Epidemic" that Gehrig had passed on to his teammates, the media has gone out of its way to make athletes feel uncomfortable. Since an ordinary story may not sell as much as a more interesting one, the media has gone to all lengths to try to create a story- even when one does not exist. And you think the players enjoy the agenda that most reporters have?
Why is it that the media cannot be given any criticism for the reasons that players do not talk? If there is an understanding that every player should be available to speak during this time, there should also be a code of conduct that the writers and other members of the media should follow. There clearly isn't- if there is, it seems as if the job of the media is to put their toe over the line as far as they can before they go too far. And once they do (and only after they do), they take a step back and acknowledge the fact they may have gone too far... if we are lucky. Most of the time, these mongos don't even do that.
Whether a story gets legs because of the seriousness of it (the Patriots deflating footballs, for example) or a reporter sticks a microphone right in the face of a player after they just made the biggest play of their life (Richard Sherman in last year's NFC Title game), the fact of the matter is the simple truths to each story is never enough. The "Media Man" walks around with his notepad, his slanderous questions already written down for him. The "Media Man" goes either into the locker room after the game or to the media room during media week and has his (or her) goal to defame and slander an athlete for the purpose of writing a story. And they will go to all lengths to do it.
But the player that chooses not to speak to the media is the one that has the problem? They are the ones not playing fair? Wouldn't you think that if reporters had less of an agenda and were less vicious in their line of questioning that these players would be more open to talking. And if so, I am sure they would hold less back during these interviews/ conversations.
What bothers me the most about the media is the fact that they will not hesitate to slander and defame a player, and they think they are doing their job. You are not doing your job if you are reporting something that is not true. That is what bothers the athletes the most. The thought that they could be asked a one-sided question under the agenda that the reporter only knows. And based on their answer, which they are baited or led into, this fictitious or embellished story gets printed or linked to hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of people.
My father taught me that sometimes others perception of you becomes the actual you. When I was younger, I had a difficult time understanding what he meant. Then I experienced a person who did not like me say something about me that was not true. Once I confronted that person, it became my word against theirs. It was up to the public to decide who was telling the truth and who was not. Athletes have to go through this every day, not to mention being treated like they are grade A scum if they were ever to make a mistake.
The media shows no remorse. Who cares if you changed the perception of a person forever by making something up? Why would you? Its not like you have to live with the lie or fabrication that was made about the player. If you ever get questioned about it, all you have to say is, "it was an anonymous source." But keep blaming the athletes, the media does no wrong. If the media did no wrong, then why don't players enjoy being interviewed? Why do players try to avoid the media like the plague, or polio?
Last spring training, I was in the presence of three former MLB players, all of whom would not speak to me because of the perception I was the media. Though I do not come to find the dirt, an athlete cannot tell the difference between me and the person who intends to be harmful. But, because of Jimmy Powers and the rest of the dirty media, I have a job to do that is more difficult than it has to be. Geez, it is hard enough having to make contacts, tell them about your show and have them become a guest and arrange a time for an interview. Add to it the perception of you that became you. Not because of the way you acted or anything you did, but because of the actions of the others before you.
I am proud to separate myself from those in the media, not because I think I am better. But because I do not believe in a career that is involves lying, gossip and slander and making people feel uncomfortable. My job is to teach the game of baseball through its history and my guests. If you are looking for more of the former, I do not think www.johnpielli.com is for you.